Putting your Growth Mindset to Practice: Building The Habit

portrait of Manuela Barcenas
Manuela Barcenas is the Marketing Lead at fellow.app, 2018 Fellow Alumni, and a lover of all things marketing, leadership, and personal development. Some people are motivated by money and others by family and others by a combination of things. She challenges us to re-frame our definition of a growth mindset. What if a growth mindset can be something beyond a mindset and more of a habit? Manuela shares her story on keeping herself accountable to create a space for growth. Make it a habit to learn more about what you want to become a specialist in. Make it a habit to build accountability. Make it a habit to build your personal brand. A growth mindset is a predictor of success, listen up.

Three thoughts on Building a Marketing Career: 

Scott: What advice would give to your 22-year-old-self now that you’re in a marketing role?

  1. Manuela didn’t go to school for marketing but she knew she was interested in the topic. Her advice if you’re in her shoes or if you’re looking to pivot: start learning about marketing online. Follow folks on Twitter who are tweeting about marketing, all the time also start building your personal brand about your thoughts on the topic. Start networking early, you don’t need to graduate from University to start building your brand, you can start building your website, or own blog, or a Twitter thread, or LinkedIn post now.
  2. A big social platform Manuela has leveraged is Twitter. She noticed that a lot of companies were hosting Twitter chats so she started joining Twitter chats and interacting with other people and answering the questions they posted. She then leveraged this trend and with the guidance of her manager Erin, she started #managerchats at Fellow.app. Behind every company chat, there’s a real person. The important thing is to build real connections! When people interact with your brand, message people, interact with their content, and get involved in conversations. (pst! Follow #marketingtwitter to start learning.)
  3. Most of the marketing strategies you’ll work on today at a startup will be in digital marketing. There are still traditional marketing channels that are alive and well but building an online presence and community is essential. You see that with young entrepreneurs on TikTok. How can you increase your following as part of a community? Whatever your marketing, you don’t even need a website. Start a medium.com blog.

Three tips on Building a Goal Setting and Habits: 

Scott: You’ve recently posted about Atomic Habits by James Clear. We’d love to hear more about which habits you’re focusing on and how you build these. 

  1. Accountability and setting up accountability systems are essential to meeting your goals. Manuela loves dancing and working out, to stay accountable to herself, she started a private Instagram account. Her five best friends follow her, and every time she works out, she posts a picture of her Apple Watch. It’s an accountability buddy system that works for her and it’s a visual representation of her progress and commitment.
  2. Make your habits part of your character. Manuela wanted to learn more about content marketing so she made it a habit to read about it and to actually spend time building her skills. What does this look like? At least once a week Manuela sits down and only consumes content on content marketing. She built a habit tracker on an Excel spreadsheet and keeps a list of the context and time spent. She keeps herself accountable by telling her manager she was doing this and sharing two or three lessons about content marketing with her manager.
  3. Manuela gives credit to her coworker Aleksandra Sunderland who taught her about Hype Documents. What is a “Hype Doc?” Basically, a document where you keep track of all your accomplishments and positive feedback that you receive from your manager and your co-workers. Why do this? It’s a boost of motivation every time you go to the document and you read all the amazing things that you’ve written in the past; and 2) It’s also a great way to keep track of your accomplishments, for let say, moments when you want to negotiate your salary or even for performance reviews. If anything, it’s been a great way for her to just stay motivated.

Three pieces of advice on growth and leadership:

Scott: On the podcast, you produce for Fellow.app, Super Managers, you get to hear from a lot of start leaders. What tips do you have for managers and young professionals looking to grow in their careers or support other’s growth? 

  1. We heard this from Mark in Episode #2, and are hearing it again from Manuela. She believes that the most important thing to do is to build authentic connections with others. When doing it in a digital world leveraging social media don’t worry about the number of followers that you have. That’s not the point. Start connecting with people on a certain topic so for example, reacting to their content, commenting on their posts, sometimes even messaging them directly. Her go-to introduction: “hey love what you’re doing at company x, I’d love to learn more, so I can do it at my company. Let’s connect!” 
  2. Lean on the people in your life who play the role of the “coach.” If this is your manager, ask them how they built their careers and lean into career conversations with people who you admire. If you start to ask questions like, “Where do you see yourself in three years?  Who has helped you get there?” They will essentially start asking back. If you’re a manager and don’t already do this, start asking your team! Manuela has done enough research to know people want managers who can really coach them under skills and help them with their professional future.
  3.  A common mistake, especially in a remote world, is to forget that there’s an actual human behind the screen. They have priorities outside of work, motivations, and it’s difficult to see that behind a screen or through social communications. A guest on Super Manger, Sarah Varney, CMO at Twilio, says that if you need to understand what motivates each person on your team. If you’re not a manager ask for scheduled regular 1:1s, constant feedback, and if possible in writing, identifying what motivates your manager and let them know what motivates you. You should aim to create feedback loops and trust!